Taos Ski Valley
One of my favorite rituals after a day tackling the steeps at Taos Ski Valley is to head down the mountain road to the quaint village of Arroyo Seco and order a double scoop of Taos Cow ice cream. Ice cream in the middle of winter? Yep. As a self-proclaimed connoisseur, it’s some of the best I’ve ever tried.
Like Taos Cow, which recently moved into a new facility, lots of changes have been afoot at TSV, and some of those changes have been significant. That’s a good thing, because there have been numerous capital improvements, upgrades, and additions to New Mexico’s marquee ski resort.
The good news that comes along with all the improvements is that TSV hasn’t lost any of its familiar charm and character. I’ve always adored the European atmosphere at the Ski Valley, thanks to the Swiss-German founder Ernie Blake, who envisioned an Alps-style resort tucked into New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains—and that feeling has been preserved. You can still hang out at The Bavarian, the classic inn at the base of Chair 4 that feels like you’ve been transported to a chalet in the Alps.
But the improvements are welcome, too. Literally at the center of it all is TSV’s new crown jewel, The Blake, the four-star hotel that rises five stories above the base area. The Blake, along with the brand new Blake Residences, offers guests a premium slope-side lodging experience, with a deluxe onsite spa, a great restaurant, and experienced staff on hand 24-7 to help with any needs.
Other excellent lodging can be found throughout the Ski Valley, including the ski-in, ski-out Edelweiss and Snakedance lodges. Looking for a condo or entire mountainside house? A number of turnkey rentals can be found through taosskivalley.com. Here’s more good news: You can now fly direct to Taos, via Taos Air, from Austin and Dallas, Texas, as well as San Diego and Los Angeles.
Another great part of the recent development at Taos is the expanded dining options. Topping the list is 192 at The Blake. The intimate dining room and lounge on the hotel’s ground floor is the go-to spot for discriminating guests for both apres and fine dining. Or try the Blonde Bear Tavern, in the Edelweiss Lodge, also in the base area. Executive Chef Bill Hartig prides himself on producing his meals from scratch, and pairs them with an excellent wine list. It’s worth noting that the fantastic breakfasts at Naranja Cafe come from the same kitchen.
Take a break during your ski day for schnitzel and a mug of German beer on the sundrenched patio of the Bavarian. Stop in at the Taos Ale House, for aprés ski action and some Detroit style pizza.
A short drive to Arroyo Seco will expand your options further, including the well-rated Aceq, serving cozy farm-to-table entrees. Another Arroyo Seco favorite, Sabrosa, does tasty barbecue and excellent margaritas. Venture a couple of miles further to Medley for high-quality fish, steaks, and vegetarian fare, paired with a quality wine list. Or keep it casual at Pizanos, dishing out some of the best pizza in the area.
Need your coffee and pastry fix in the morning? Black Diamond Espresso, in the base area just steps from Lift 1, is the spot. In addition to excellent espresso, the walk-up window also offers a variety of spiced mocha and hot chocolate drinks. Try the Mexican Mocha for a warm afternoon pick-up.
While the Ski Valley puts its main focus on skiing and snowboarding, that’s not the only recreation around. Nearby Williams Lake is popular with backcountry skiers and snowshoers. You can book a snowmobile tour from Big Al’s that will ferry you up to 12,000 feet for some of the most scenic views in the area. Or take a drive down to the Taos Gorge Bridge, where you can ogle at the overlook and, if your timing is right, catch a glimpse of the bighorn sheep that roam the plateau.
Ready to shift into full relaxation mode? Wind things down at the Spa and Wellness Center at The Blake, which offers full service massage and facial treatments. This may be one of the nicest features of the new-and-improved Taos Ski Valley: you still feel like you’re getting a real mountain experience without sacrificing any creature comforts. Comfortable and convenient lodging, a full-service spa, and some terrific food. Oh, and I’m going to put Taos Cow ice cream on that list, too. Taos just wouldn’t be the same without it.
Article by: Nick Heil